"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN" The Children Of God (3:1-3) by Mark Copeland


The Children Of God (3:1-3)


1. In 1Jn 2:29, for the first time John speaks of Christians as those
   who are "born" of God...
   a. It is an expression that will be used time and again throughout
      the remainder of this epistle - 1Jn 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18
   b. It is a figurative expression, emphasizing that the Christian's
      spiritual life is a result of the redemptive work of God - cf. Co
      2:12-13; Tit 3:4-7
   c. As a result of this working of God in our lives, we have been
      "born again", and can therefore be properly called God's "children"

2. That we can be called "children of God" was amazing to John, and in 
   our text (1Jn 3:1-3) he desires that we reflect...
   a. Upon the significance of being called the "children of God"
   b. Upon the implications of what it should mean in our lives

[As we take the opportunity to reflect upon such things, we first 
notice that this passage reminds us of...]


      1. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, 
         that we should be called children of God!"
      2. It is through the love of God that we can even become His 
         children - Jn 3:16; Ro 5:8; 1Jn 4:9-10; Tit 3:3-7
      3. It is an honor for God to even take notice of us as one of His
         creatures (cf. Ps 8:3-4), how much love God must have to 
         allow us to become His children!

      1. "...the world does not know us..."
      2. That is, they do not truly recognize or appreciate what we
         have become in Christ
      3. They may even deem us as religious fanatics, fools - 
         cf. 1Co 4:9-13
      4. But this is understandable...
         a. For the world did not (and still does not) really know 
            Jesus - Jn 1:11
         b. And for now, our lives are "hidden" in Jesus - Col 3:3-4

[Loved and honored by God, unknown and sometimes despised by the world;
that is what we are today as the children of God.

But as stated by Paul in Col 3:4, when Christ comes we will "appear 
with Him in glory"!  This speaks of our condition in the future, and 
John also writes of our future condition...]


      1. Exactly what we shall be like has not yet been revealed
      2. Which may be that due to our finite capability to comprehend
      3. In general terms we have been promised a spiritual body and 
         immortality - cf. 1Co 15:42-44; 50-53
      4. But there is something else, hinted at by both Paul and John...

      1. "...we know that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as
         He is."
      2. Paul also says that we will be like Jesus when He comes...
         a. We shall bear the image of the "heavenly Man" - 
            cf. 1Co 15:49
         b. Our lowly bodies will undergo a wonderful transformation to
            become like Jesus - Php 3:20-21
      3. Though we cannot fully know what we will be like, it must 
         really be something, for as Christ is now, no man can really 
         see Him and live! - cf. 1Ti 6:13-16

[This wonderful hope of what we will be some day should encourage us to
"stand fast in the Lord" (cf. Php 3:20-4:1).

John also has something to say as to how this hope ought to influence 
how we live, as he describes...]


      1. "everyone who has this hope..."
      2. The hope of which John writes, of course, is the earnest 
         expectation that we will be like Jesus when He comes

      1. The Greek word for "purify" is hagnizo {hag-nid'-zo} which 
         means "to make clean, i.e. (fig.) sanctify"
         a. It is closely related to the word for "holiness", which in 
            Greek is hagiasmos, {hag-ee-as-mos'}, meaning "holiness, 
         b. It therefore involves the idea of being "set apart" for a 
            holy purpose, which Christians are taught to pursue - cf. 
            He 12:14
      2. Properly motivated by the hope that Jesus will "transform our
         lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body" 
         (Php 3:21), the true child of God will work toward the purity 
         (holiness) seen in the Lord Himself
      3. How can Christians purify themselves?
         a. First and foremost by appropriating the cleansing power of 
            the blood of Jesus! - cf. 1Jn 1:9
         b. Only then can we hope to be truly holy and without blemish 
            - cf. Ep 5:25-27
         c. But we also have an obligation to remove ourselves from 
            things that would defile us - cf. 2Co 6:16-7:1


1. By virtue of God's love for us, and His working in us, we can truly
   be called the "children of God"!

2. However, to become a child of God, and truly remain such, we must be
   willing to cooperate with God...
   a. When our faith joins with the working of God, we can become His 
      children! - cf. Col 2:12-13; Ga 3:26-27
   b. As long as our faith remains strong, we have the assurance of 
      receiving the promises God has made - cf. He 3:12-14; 4:1-2; 
      10:35-39; Re 2:10

May the love our heavenly Father has shown in making us His children, 
serve to motivate us to remain faithful to Him!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"Of the House of David" by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


"Of the House of David"

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Of all the men in the Old Testament, few are spoken of with such reverence and honor as King David—shepherd, psalmist, soldier, and king. With God’s mighty power behind him, he slew a bear and a lion to save his father’s sheep, toppled a wicked giant with a single stone, slaughtered thousands of godless Philistines, and united the children of Israel under a monarchy of righteousness and justice. The Bible mentions David some 1,048 times. He wrote 73 of the psalms and stands as the major character in approximately 62 chapters of the Old Testament. Anyone who has ever read the Good Book cannot help but know the name of David—a man said to be “after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). And those familiar with the modern-day nation of Israel know that its flag proudly bears a symbol known as the Star of David.
Yet, if the Bible is removed from the discussion, David—King of Israel—vanishes into the shadows of secular history. At least he did for almost 3,000 years. David’s name and story were conspicuously missing from either archaeological evidence or the testimony of history. His name was so absent, in fact, that for many years skeptics had dubbed David’s life as fantasy and his deeds as legendary. After all, every nation needs a hero who slays giants. The Saxons had Beowulf, the Greeks had Hercules, and the Jews had David. David’s daring deeds and courageous conduct were relegated to the fabled heaps of legend and myth.
But a find unearthed in Palestine in 1993 changed David’s status in secular history forever. Professor Avraham Biran, director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College, was digging at a site in northern Israelite known as Tel Dan. There he unearthed a 3,000-year-old black basalt obelisk inscribed by one of the enemies of the ancient nation of Israel. The obelisk explained that Ben Hadad, King of Damascus, had defeated the Israelites and taken many of them captive. But the most amazing aspect of the obelisk is that it plainly states that the Israelite monarch defeated by Ben Hadad was “of the house of David.” This serves to confirm the biblical usage of this very designation (cf. 1 Kings 12:19; 14:8; Isaiah 7:2; et al.). And, for the first time in secular history, David appears connected to Israel from a historical standpoint. The implications of the stone cannot be ignored. If a king—any king—reigned who belonged to the “house of David,” then there must have been a real, historical David who established such a house and began the dynastic name.
The story of David thus has assumed a new place in the halls of history. No longer can David, King of Israel, be relegated to the status of myth or legend. Instead, he takes his rightful place beside the other documented kings of ancient history. David lived, just as the Bible had stated. And once again, the Bible remains the anvil on which the blows of the skeptic fall in vain.

"Contradictions" Regarding the Ark of the Covenant by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


"Contradictions" Regarding the Ark of the Covenant

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

How does the “20 years” reference in 1 Samuel 7:2 harmonize with the fact that the ark was not brought from Kirjath-jearim until 2 Samuel 6:4—more than 40 years later?
Even though God’s Word can be substantially communicated from one language to another, the translation process is sufficiently complex to the extent that many of the subtleties of the parent language are lost in translation. These subtleties rarely, if ever, involve matters that are critical to the central purpose of revelation. However, apparent discrepancies on minor details can surface that require a careful re-examination of the actual linguistic data of the parent language (in this case Hebrew) in order to dissolve the apparent discrepancy.
The individual clauses of 1 Samuel 7:2-3 are linked in Hebrew by “waw consecutives” that bring the statements into close logical and temporal connection. The three verbs of verse two are a continuation of the infinitive, which points to the main sentence being resumed in verse three (“and Samuel spoke”). The gist of these grammatical data is that the writer is informing us that after the ark’s capture, the people endured Philistine oppression for the next twenty years. Though all Israel “lamented after the Lord,” He allowed the Israelites to continue their suffering at the hands of the Philistines for 20 years—at which time Samuel called upon the nation to put away its idols.
First Samuel describes the final years of the period of the judges. The reliance upon the ark as a sort of mystical talisman brought swift military tragedy, precipitating yet another period of foreign oppression by Israel’s enemies due to their own apostasy. This period of Philistine preeminence went on for twenty years before the lamentations of God’s people were finally heard. At the end of the twenty years, Samuel called on them to couple their lamentations with genuine penitence (1 Samuel 7:3). When they put away their idolatry (vs. 4), they once again enjoyed the services of the judge (vs. 6), who assisted them in throwing off Philistine oppression by military defeat (vss. 10ff.).
Thus the twenty years refers—not to the total number of years that the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim—but merely to the number of years the ark was in Kirjath-jearim before the Lord chose to hear the people’s lamentations and provide them with intervention through Samuel.

"A Book of Jewish Fables"? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


"A Book of Jewish Fables"?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

With the widespread deterioration of interest in and respect for the Bible in the last half century in America, outspoken ridicule of the inspiration of the Bible has become commonplace in universities, the entertainment industry, and beyond. One such dismissal of the credibility of the Bible is seen in the smug exclamation: “The Bible is simply a book of Jewish fables and fairy tales.” Apart from the heartbreaking sadness in the heart of any Christian who hears such a brazen statement, the level of ignorance possessed by the speaker is appalling. After all, the United States of America was founded in the bosom of the Bible and it exerted a profound influence on American culture for nearly two centuries before it came under relentless attack by sinister forces in education, politics, entertainment, and organizations formed to undermine its influence. Nevertheless, the Bible deserves a fair consideration before being subjected to such a cavalier, unstudied dismissal.
Consider the dictionary definition of a “fable”:
  • Merriam-Webster: “a fictitious narrative or statement: such as (a) a legendary story of supernatural happenings, (b) a narration intended to enforce a useful truth especially one in which animals speak and act like human beings”
  • Cambridge Dictionary: “a short story that tells a moral truth, often using animals as characters.”
  • Webster’s New World College Dictionary: “1. a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson: the characters are usually talking animals; 2. a myth or legend; 3. a story that is not true; falsehood.”
  • Collins Dictionary defines “fairy tale” as “a story for children involving magical events and imaginary creatures.”
One cannot help but be reminded of the famed Aesop’s fables or the folktales of Uncle Remus and the Brothers Grimm. However, to suggest that the Bible as a literary entity may be largely characterized as fable betrays either a deep commitment to bias or an abject unacquaintance with the contents of the Bible.1


An incredible array of evidences exists to demonstrate the supernatural origin of the Bible. For example, unlike fable, biblical literature is saturated with references to specific people and places that have been historically authenticated. Time and time again, when skeptics have challenged its historical claims, the Bible has been consistently vindicated. This brief article will provide the reader with a few examples (out of many) of amazing accuracy in each of six categories: history, geography, topography, science, medicine, and prophecy.

Historical Accuracy

At one time, skeptics insisted that the nation of the Hittites, mentioned so frequently in the Old Testament (nearly 60 occurrences of the term, e.g., Genesis 23:10; 26:34; Joshua 1:4), never existed. No known evidence was available to verify their historicity. This circumstance provided fodder for those who dismissed the divine authenticity of the Bible. As Wright explained in his 1884 volume The Empire of the Hittites:
Now, although the Bible is not a mere compendium of history, its veracity is deeply involved in the historic accuracy of its statements; but the Hittites had no place in classic history, and therefore it was supposed by some that the Bible references to them could not be true. There was a strong presumption that an important people could scarcely have dropped completely out of history, but the strong presumption did not warrant the unscientific conclusion that the Bible narrative was untrue. It was just possible that classic history might be defective regarding a people of whom sacred history had much to say…. The arguments against the historic accuracy of the Bible, based on its references to the Hittites, are never likely to appear again in English literature. The increasing light from Egypt and Assyria reveals to us, in broad outline and in incidental detail, a series of facts, with reference to the Hittites, in perfect harmony with the narratives of the Bible.2
It was Hugo Winckler who in 1906 excavated Bogazkale—the ancient capital of the Hittite Empire—an expansive site of over 400 acres.3 Since that time, studies of the ancient Hittites have proliferated. A veritable host of comparable discoveries could be cited that reinforce the same conclusion, including the fact that at least 63 people mentioned in the Old and New Testaments have been verified by actual inscriptional evidence.4 The New Testament writer Luke mentions 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 Mediterranean islands, most of which have been historically verified. He even alludes to 95 people, 62 of whom are not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, and 27 of whom were civil or military leaders.5The Bible has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be historically accurate.


The man who has gone down in history as the “Father of Biblical Geography” is Edward Robinson. He is credited with instigating the first serious and extensive explorations of Palestine in order to verify the Bible’s geographical accuracy.6 He succeeded in identifying nearly 200 biblical sites. Since that time, literally thousands more have been verified. For example, some scholars once considered the account of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon to be a bit of fictitious romance. However, not only has Sheba been located in southern Arabia, the Sabaean people were known for their trade exploits as reflected in the Queen’s camel caravan of spices, gold, and precious stones (1 Kings 10:2). As a book from antiquity, the Bible stands alone in the extent to which its geographical accuracy has been substantiated.


Topography refers to the layout of land, i.e., the three-dimensional surface configuration of its physical features, including mountains, valleys, plains, elevations, etc. Incredibly, the Bible has shown itself to be topographically accurate. For example, we are informed in Genesis 12:8 that when Abraham moved from Moreh to the mountain east of Bethel, “he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.” Any map of Bible lands will confirm this configuration. In Joshua 7:2, “Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel.” This topographical arrangement is also easily verified. In Acts 8:26, Phillip was commanded to “go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Not only is Gaza southwesterly from Jerusalem, the elevation literally descends from Jerusalem to Gaza, from approximately 700 meters (2,300 feet) to 35 meters (115 feet). Such examples could be multiplied endlessly. The Bible is topographically accurate. 


The Bible is also scientifically accurate—though it was never intended to function as a science book. While not written in modern scientific jargon, its passing allusions to scientific realities are represented accurately. Note the following listing of but a few scientific facts:
  • The Laws of Thermodynamics: Genesis 2:1; 2:2; Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:26; Hebrews 1:11 
  • The water cycle (condensation-precipitation-evaporation): Ecclesiastes 1:7; 11:3; Amos 9:6
  • Innumerable stars: Genesis 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22
  • The parting of light: Job 38:24
  • Trenches on the ocean floor: Job 38:16
These are but a small sampling of the Bible’s uncanny accuracy in matters of science.


The Bible manifests supernatural acquaintance with modern medical procedures that were far ahead of their time. Ancient civilizations certainly had their notions of medical thinking. But for the most part, their ideas are associated with superstition and ignorance. Not so with the Author of the Law of Moses. Consider just five:
  • Avoiding communicable disease from dead bodies: Numbers 19:12
  • The principle of quarantine: Leviticus 13:45-46
  • Necessity of human waste disposal: Deuteronomy 23:12
  • Optimum time for circumcision surgery: Leviticus 12:3
  • Blood as the key to life: Leviticus 17:11-14


The Bible’s divine origin is particularly on display when one examines its predictive prophetic utterances. The general timeframe of the creation of the books of the Bible has been well established. A host of prophecies in the Old Testament can be demonstrated to have been spoken hundreds of years before their fulfillment. Again, here is a listing of only a few:
  • The fall of Tyre: Ezekiel 26
  • Zedekiah would not see Babylon: Ezekiel 12:8-13
  • The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70: Daniel 9:26
  • The fall of Babylon: Isaiah 13-14; Jeremiah 50-51; et al.
  • Babylon would be conquered by a man named Cyrus: Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-7
  • The rise and fall of Alexander the Great: Daniel 8:5-8
Again, these are only a handful of the incredible number of inspired predictions that riddle the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. The Bible, in fact, contains hundreds of prophecies. Over 300 pertain to the life of Christ on Earth.


A “book of Jewish fables” or “fairy tales”? Such characterizations cannot—and never will be—sustained. No archaeologist’s spade will ever uncover the home of the seven dwarves or the palace of the wicked queen. But King Ahab’s ivory palace has been discovered and excavated (1 Kings 22:39).7The location of the briar patch into which Brer Bear tossed Brer Rabbit never existed. But Hezekiah’s water tunnel really exists (2 Kings 20:20).8 Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel, and Gretel were not actual historical personages. But the Assyrian King Sargon II, whose historicity was initially questioned since his name occurred nowhere else in ancient literature, was found to have actually lived (Isaiah 20:1).9 Indeed, the Bible surpasses all other books in human history—which is precisely what one would expect if its Author is God. The great tragedy is that so many have dismissed the Bible on the flimsy ground of popular hearsay, depriving themselves of the marvelous self-authentication provided within its pages. Here, indeed, is the Word of God—a message from Deity Himself—announcing His desire that all people be saved in order to be with Him in heaven for all eternity, thereby avoiding the only possible alternative of endless suffering in hell.


1 Some have asserted that Balaam’s talking donkey in Numbers 22:28 is evidence of fable in the Bible. However, see Dave Miller and Jeff Miller (2019), “Does Balaam’s Talking Donkey Prove that the Bible is a Book of Fables?” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5660.
2 William Wright (1884), The Empire of the Hittites (New York: Scribner & Welford), pp. viii-ix. See also Sir Frederic Kenyon (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (London: George Harrap), pp. 81ff.
3 Joseph Free (1992), Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, revised edition), p. 108.
4 Jack Lewis (1971), Historical Backgrounds of Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), p. 178.
5 Bruce M. Metzger (2003), The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, Content (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press), p. 171.
6 Frederick Bliss (1903), The Development of Palestine Exploration (London: Hodder & Stoughton), pp. 184-223, https://apologetcspress.page.link/The-Development-of-Palestine-Exploration.
7 Director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, John Crowfoot, directed the expedition that excavated the ancient city of Samaria from 1931 to 1935. Ahab reigned during the first half of the 9th century B.C.
8 Hezekiah lived from 715 to 687 B.C. Anticipating a possible siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, his engineers blocked the Gihon spring’s water outside the city and diverted it to the Pool of Siloam via a channel which they cut through stone beneath the city. An inscription verifying the work was found within the tunnel.
9 It was the French Consul General at Mosul, Paul-Émile Botta, who excavated Sargon’s palace at Khorsabad (Arabic-Dur-Sharrukin) from 1842 to 1844, bringing to light the existence of this Assyrian monarch. Sargon II reigned from 722 to 705 B.C. Cf. Jack Lewis (1999), Archaeology and the Bible(Henderson, TN: Hester Publications), p. 54.

Teachings of Jesus (Part 27) Being Self Centered by Ben Fronczek


Teachings of Jesus (Part 27) Being Self 


Scripture reading Galatians 5:19-25
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
To begin with today, I’d like to share a story with you:
A man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his old car near her Mercedes and got out.
He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her. “I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson “.
The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands got cut up a bit.
When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: “If you really want to pay me back, then the next time you see someone who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me “.
That same evening the lady stopped by a small café. That place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress who was nearly eight months pregnant wiping her wet hands with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had been on her feet the whole day.
The lady wondered how someone who was that tired and in that condition could be so kind and giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.
The lady finished her meal and paid with a hundred-dollar bill. The waitress went to get change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin, “You don‘t owe me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you “. The waitress found four more one hundred bills under the napkin.
That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know how much she and her husband needed it? Especially now, when the baby was soon to arrive. She knew that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him good news. Then she kissed him and whispered; “Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson”.
It’s funny how God can bless us when we bless others. In Luke 14 Jesus teaches another wonderful lesson. Read Luke 14:1-14
“One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
So here Jesus was again, under a microscope, being watched to see if He was going to do something unlawful while He ate at the house of this Pharisee. And again Jesus does a good thing by healing this man even though it was the Sabbath. He immediately gives a simple explanation why it was acceptable to do good, even on the Sabbath.
But then we read that He noticed how certain individuals were picking the places of honor at the table and begins to teach them again by telling them that it would be wiser to choose a lowly place, and maybe be exalted rather than being humiliated because they chose seats that were never meant for them.
As I thought about this story I came to the conclusion that there is problem Jesus is addressing other than pride based on what I see here in the whole text. Personally I believe He is addressing those who are selfish, or self-center in the way they think and how they act.
In Galatian 5 Paul writes a list of sins that should not be seen in disciples of Christ. One of those he mentions is self-ambition, and I believe the emphases is on the “self” part, or just plain being selfish.
And why is it so bad? I believe it is because being self-centered, or selfish is a form of idolatry.
Think about it; when a person only thinks about themselves, and what they should have or what they should get, they are really turning inward and idolizing themselves. Even if we always go around feeling sorry for our self we are focused inward and in a way idolizing our self. When a person is very self- centered, everything is about them, and they act as though the whole world revolves around them.
So when if I become that self-centered, I don’t think God is pleased with that.
I don’t think it pleases Him because He knows how bad that kind of thinking is for us. There is no way we can turned inward and live only for our self and truly be happy.
How many of you want to be happy? I think that is the bottom line in life; we to be happy and enjoy life.
Of course there are times when we need to take care of our self and tend to some of our own needs. But what I am talking about here goes beyond that; actually where selfishness, and selfish desires control our life. And if we continue on with that desire and behavior we can literally become addicted to satisfying self or those selfish desires.
And what then happens when we don’t get our way or what we desire? We get disappointed, and sad, and discouraged, sometimes bitter and sometimes angry. One thing for sure, we won’t be happy. And if that’s the case we need to do something about it.
Now what are some of the problems with being selfish?
First of all, people turn inward and maybe without realizing they actually idolize themselves in a twisted way; most all of their thoughts are focused inward and their whole world becomes about them. And like those guys who were grabbing the best seats at the dinner party they think they deserved the best of everything.
It’s not right to turn inward and simply idolize our self because God calls us to do just the opposite; to be ‘live outward, not ‘inward’.
Also, people who focus on themselves cannot seem to see what they could and should be doing for other. Why? Because they are only thinking about themselves.
Since I have become a Christian I’ve heard over and over that the best way to be happy is to get your mind off yourself and start being a blessing to others; and to start treating others the way I you would like to be treated by others. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone would do that.
Notice in the second part of our text here in Luke 14. Jesus tells those at the party ” invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed (or happy). Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
It’s funny how so many spend years of their life trying to make themselves happy, but never find lasting happiness. But if you truly give yourself to God, and trust Him to take care of you, and then spend a good deal of time trying to bless others, maybe encouraging, or help others with physical needs, or serving others in some special way, you will be happier in the long run.
When you help other people, God will in turn give you joy that only He can give.
Did you ever have a problem and you couldn’t seem to help yourself?
Why is it that God may enable you to help others with their problems and needs but then you can’t seem to help yourself?
Simply put, maybe God doesn’t want you always helping yourself, rather He want you helping others. And as you do, you sow a seed and God then takes that seed and he brings a harvest back to you by having someone else minister to you.
So I minister to you, and God touches someone else to be used by Him to help you, and we all get a piece of joy from God in our lives in the process.
So many of us have wasted too much time trying to make them self happy, and yet still may find they are miserable. If you have this problem, maybe you have been idolizing yourself without realizing it. If that’s the case, it’s time to make a change.
I believe that’s what Jesus was trying to teach at that the dinner party. He said, “11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves (especially for other’s sakes) will be exalted.”
I like Joyce Myer’s modern day story of the good Samaritan. I also added a bit to the story as well.I goes something like this:
A single mom with 3 kids was going thru a particular hard time months after her husband left her. Some in her church found out about her hardship and one said I will pray for you. Another asked, ‘How come the church isn’t helping her.’  Still another talked behind her back wondering what she had done that her husband decided to leave her.
But then when someone who was not even a member of her church found out about the hard time she was going thru. Even though she was not a wealthy woman she quietly went to the woman’s landlord and paid for a month’s rent to help her out. Then she stopped over and brought her fixings for a nice Christmas meal and gave her a gift card to Walmart so she could purchase some Christmas gifts for her children and even offered to babysit while she went shopping. While there babysitting she pick up around the house and did some cleaning and even cooked a nice meal with some food she had brought with her. She made friends with her and became a life line of support for her.
That’s what living outward looks like, and I believe that’s the kind outward behavior Jesus want to see from His disciples.
It’s time to start putting others first. It’s time to start reaching out to help those less fortunate when God opens that door. Maybe it’s time for you to start treating everyone the way you want to be treated.
He said, ‘then you will be blessed (or happy) in the here in now, you will also be repaid at the resurrection.’ 
(Excerpts from Joyce Myers)

Do you long to be with Christ? by Roy Davison


Do you long to be with Christ?

We want to be with those we love.

One of the saddest things in life is to be separated from loved ones. If we cannot be with them all the time, we want to be with them when we can.
During holidays large sums are spent visiting those we love. Much automobile and air traffic is generated by those who travel great distances to spend some time with loved ones.

When I was very small, I travelled with my mother by train half way across the United States to visit my grandmother.
The saddest separation of all is death. That was the last time we saw her. She had a stroke and died shortly thereafter. She was a faithful Christian, however, so we look forward to seeing her again.
How can we have this assurance? Through the resurrection of Christ! He is the Redeemer in whom Job believed as he longed to be with God (Job 19:25-27).
Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with the Father so we may have an eternal relationship with Him. Jesus longs to be with His loved ones, and they long to be with Him.

Jesus wants His followers to be with Him forever.

He prayed: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
Knowing that he would be leaving His beloved disciples shortly, He assured them: “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me” (John 16:16). “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22).
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

How can we be with Christ forever?

We must have a good relationship with Him now to be with Him forever. 

Christ died for us that we might live with Him.

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10).

We must deny ourselves and follow Christ.

Because Jesus gave His life for us, we give our life to Him.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it’” (Matthew 16:24, 25).
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).
If we want to be with Jesus forever, we must be willing to suffer with Him: “and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we sufferwith Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

We must die with Christ to live with Him.

“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11). By sharing in His death, we have His life in us as a foretaste of eternal life.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:8-11).
“For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you” (2 Corinthians 13:4).
As Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

We die with Christ through baptism.

We are united with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection through baptism.
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united togetherin the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:3-6).
At baptism our sinful man is crucified with Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and by the blood of Christ, our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16), and we rise from baptism to “walk in newness of life.” We have been “born again,” “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3, 5).
Previously, we were outside of Christ. Now we are in Him, a member of His body, the church: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Paul reminds Christians: You were “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12); “knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

Christians commune with the body and blood of Christ.

Jesus gives this loving invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with Him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
When we break bread on the first day of the week, we have fellowship with His body and blood: “Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16 NET).
In the Lord’s supper we encounter the body and blood of Christ. We meditate on what He has done for us. In our mind we hear the blows of the hammer and feel the pain from the spikes that were driven into His hands and feet, knowing that He was bearing the punishment for our sins. Yet, we also rejoice when we think about the stone being rolled away and the triumphant Christ emerging from the tomb. We feel extremely close to Him and surrounded by His love. This fellowship with the body and blood of Christ is spiritual, intimate and profound.

Christians long to be with Christ.

As long as we are still in the flesh, our fellowship with Christ is limited, but we look forward to being with Him forever.
Although Paul wanted to serve his fellow saints, he longed to be with the Lord: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23 ESV). “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

He who remains faithful may walk with Christ in white.

“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:4, 5). “To overcome,” as used in Revelation, means to remain faithful until death.

After Christ returns, we will be with Him forever.

When Jesus comes again, we will be like Him: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). 

We will appear with Christ at His coming.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

We will reign with Christ.

“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11, 12).
“He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).

What have we learned?

We want to be with those we love. Jesus wants His followers to be with Him. How can we be with Christ forever? He died for us that we might live with Him. We must deny ourselves and follow Jesus. We must die with Him to live with Him. We die with Christ through baptism. We commune with the body and blood of Christ at His table. Christians long to be with Christ. He who remains faithful may walk with Christ in white. When He returns, we will appear with Him, we will be with Him, and we will reign with Him forever.
We long to be with Christ! “O Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). “The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive